ROB Harvey’s painful departure before Saturday’s 1-0 home defeat against Wroxham summed up Heybridge Swifts manager Steve Tilson’s frustration at not reaching the Isthmian North Division play-offs for a second successive season, writes JON LONGMAN.

Harvey, ruled out by yet another pulled hamstring in the warm up, has a tale of personal woes that encapsulate Swifts' injury agonies in a nutshell that have flung mud at a campaign that promised so much after losing last season’s play-off final at AFC Sudbury.

The season began with Harvey taking a tour of Ipswich and Colchester hospitals after almost losing an ear following his collision with an advertising hoarding during Swifts' victory at Ipswich Wanderers.

The talisman bounced back to fire up the Swifts' season, with his pace on the flanks and pinpoint crosses creating many chances, only to be ruled out for long periods with injuries to both hamstrings.

Tilson’s frustration has resulted in three yellow cards in recent games and he had to sit in the stand last Saturday, serving a one-match suspension.

Tilson’s woes have been magnified by the crop of injuries too long to list here and bans that could have been avoided.

Swifts have had to use six different goalkeepers and the latest number one, Ellis Royce, called up from the reserve team, kept his side in the contest against Wroxham with a string of fine saves.

Royce had no chance of keeping out Ryan Hawkins’ winner for the visitors as his shot took a decisive deflection with just four minutes one of the referee’s watches that failed midway through the second half.

Jack Adlington-Pile has been Swifts emergency striker but he fluffed their best chance of equalising, firing straight at the Wroxham keeper when clean through.

Ironically, the Swifts played some of their best football of the season by common consent but their failings have been in the final third At the crunch point in the season when the Swifts went on a seven-match unbeaten run, Tilson had a threadbare substitutes’ bench with no game changing options to turn 0-0 scores into victories.

Last season’s leading scorer Ross Wall, who returned from Brentwood, has struggled with an ankle injury, but he started a four-match ban on Saturday for violent conduct that will carry over to next season as the Swifts current campaign concludes with next Saturday’s visit to Basildon United.

Tilson’s verdict on the season’s failure is simple: “That’s the outcome you get if you get if you don’t take your chances.”